‘Exposure’ Gives Hard Lessons of Working in the Music Biz

The photographers get a taste of shooting for the music bizMatthew Honda | Talent Recap

Last week’s premiere episode of Exposure saw one photographer sent home for catching their bad side in the portrait challenge. This week, the seven remaining photographers got a taste of what it’s like to capture the music industry when femme rockers, The Aces stopped by for some photo ops. Along with the weekly cash prize, this week’s winner received a special privilege that could potentially open new doors.

The Flash Challenge – Iconic Concert Photo

This week, the contestants got to experience something a lot of us might be envious of one year into lockdown – live music. The phone photographers were treated to the debut performance of The Aces new single, “Don’t Freak,” and tasked with capturing an iconic concert photo. Some artists focused on capturing the whole band, while others focused on individual members, but all tried to capture the vibe of the indie-pop band. 

Shooting all at the same time and with only one performance of the song, getting the right shot became pretty hectic. After the three-minute performance was over the seven artists had what they needed to work with. Now with only 15 minutes to pick one shot and make any edits needed, they raced to their studios and got to work.

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Contestant Tommy captured “true quintessential concert photography” before being rushed to the hospital | Photo: Hulu

As all the photographers walk us through their process behind their photograph, one contestant, Tommy, begins to feel ill. A tense scene unfolds as a medic is called in and he is escorted to the hospital. It appears that Tommy, who is a type 1 diabetic, was feeling the effects of not monitoring himself the way he should. He later returns in fine health, in time for the portfolio challenge.

Winner of the Flash Challenge

Before leaving, Tommy was able to complete a submission for the challenge and the judges gave it high praise. Judge Cole Walliser loved it and said it “feels like a concert photo.” Cat Jimenez loved that he captured the halo effect, a mark of “true quintessential concert photography.” 

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Krys not only captured an energized moment, he added to it with a creative splash of color | Photo: Hulu

Krys felt more in his element with this week’s challenge, and the judges recognized that comfort. Jimenez said his image felt “so surprising and so much energy.” 

Michelle, another competitor, was complimented on her use of the stage lighting. Jimenez mentioned the radiant glow “feels like the sunshine is blowing it out for them.”

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Michelle put a lot of thought behind her composition and the judges were all for it | Photo: Hulu

Photographer Jose’s image was complimented on its unique perspective from the microphone’s POV. Walliser recognized the complexity of lining up all the elements with the spotlight. 

All the photographers were given good feedback making the decision tough for the judges. The judges named Jose, Krys, and Michelle the top 3, with Krys taking the win in the flash challenge. 

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Jose proves to have a keen eye once again with this strong flash challenge image | Photo: Hulu

Portfolio Challenge – Single Cover Art

For this week’s portfolio challenge, the photographers had to create a concept for the cover art for The Aces’ new single. The winner of this challenge would also get to shoot the actual cover for the official release. This challenge was about capturing the band’s synergy while also speaking to the song.

With two and a half hours on the clock, each photographer got a chance to collaborate with the band in their studios and shoot however many images were needed. Next, it was up to them to edit the photos to bring their single cover idea to life. 

While everyone snapped away to ensure they captured the best shot, Jose’s brimming confidence had him only take two photos! A bold choice in a photography competition. When asked about it he doubles down saying:

“I would shoot one because I’m confident with my abilities.” 

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Marylin really thought outside the box to create this stand out concept | Photo: Hulu

Portfolio Challenge Top Photographers

Who’s better to join the judges this week other than Matty Vogel. He’s the tour photographer for The Aces and other acts like 30 Seconds to Mars and Billie Eilish. This week the judges saw things they liked, things they didn’t like, and maybe even felt was a little disappointing. 

Photographers like Marylin and Tommy used ingenious ideas to bring make their image stand out paying off with the judges. Marylin added texture by shooting her image off the computer screen. The lines from the screen added that element and helped match the vibe she was going for.

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Tommy used so many creative ideas in the making of this cover art concept | Photo: Hulu

Tommy was highlighted for his choice of a bird’s eye perspective. Guest judge Matty Vogel recognized that this perspective might be the “seventh or eighth thing [most photographers] try in a shoot” and was glad this was his first approach. Walliser found it interesting his cover didn’t interpret the lyrics of the song but was a “purely visual and purely striking” interpretation of the challenge. 

The judges also were pleased with Anna’s work. Vogel said it was “one of the best grasps of soft beautiful lighting” of the day. Jimenez expressed that every element of the image just felt right for the challenge and described it as a “total home run.” 

Winner of the Portfolio Challenge 

The judges gave the top photo to Anna! The “momtagrapher” admittedly having never shot a concert photo before this challenge, can now say she shot a band’s cover art. 

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Anna captured not 1 but 4 incredible photos to bring this concept together | Photo: Hulu

Bottom Portfolio Challenge Photographers

Judges this week felt Michelle again overworked the lighting in her image. Jimenez felt the lighting was “a little bit harsh” making the performers less attractive. 

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Michelle finds herself at the bottom again. Her concept was great, but her execution didn’t feel as thought out | Photo: Hulu

Jose had a fall from grace moment after winning last week’s portfolio challenge. Conceptually the judges were a fan but his execution was lackluster. His cocky choice to only shoot two images to work with really didn’t seem to sit well with the judges either (or his competitors for that matter.) 

“I dig the confidence but you ALWAYS want to take more than two photos,” Walliser offers Jose as advice when shooting artists. 

Matthew Honda | Talent Recap Jose didn’t need more than 2 shots to express his self-confidence | Photo: Hulu

Who Missed Their Shot?

The judges felt that Michelle continues to struggle with her use of light. Her image this week felt like some things were missing despite being conceptually a strong image. She defends herself explaining that she’s still trying to find the balance of staying true to her artistry and the rules to the challenges. 

While Jose’s “confidence not cockiness” this week had the judges feel like he phoned this one in. Jose describes this week’s poor performance on being a street photographer shooting in a studio environment.

In an unpredictable (kind of, did they really hide their decision?), controversial twist, the judges this week spared both photographers from elimination! 

While judges placed Jose at the bottom of this week’s challenge and he would have been eliminated, judges decided to give him a second chance. They cited his work up until this point has been really strong and know his talent as to why he was safe this week. 

This week was a reality check for the photographers. Some more than others. There are so many emotions to feel with this week’s elimination results. What are your thoughts about the shocking decision to keep all contestants another week? 

Catch Up on ‘Exposure’

If you want to tune into the show to see all the photography featured in this episode or to catch up on the season, you’ll just need a Hulu account. If you don’t already have one they do offer a one-month free trial. 

Once you’re over that hurdle, just tune in every Monday to watch the latest episodes as they’re released. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Honda
Matthew Honda

Matthew Honda is a contributing writer for Talent Recap. He's new to writing but certainly not new to binging television. If he's not sitting down to some reality TV, you might find him practicing some extreme sport, snapping photos, or shooting some pool.

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